The Resident Evil film franchise has never been known to shy away from its video game roots. Far from pretending the games didn't exist, Paul W.S. Anderson and his crew have reveled in the grotesque horror and high camp of Capcom's beloved source material.
The creators of the #ResidentEvil movies knew that their success came largely from the fans — and they made sure to let these fans know it, with lots of Easter Eggs and hidden references to the games. There are enough scattered throughout the series that even the most astute among us could conceivably miss a few.
From Zombies To Tyrants, The Monsters Always Made Their Way In
Starting with the zombie hounds and infamous Licker from the first movies, #horror fans have always had fun spotting the strange beasties born of the games.
Particular favorites were the boss-like monsters — usually hulking brutes who Alice was forced to face down in the final act. In the second movie, poor survivor Matt finds a fate worse than death when he's transformed into Nemesis, an unstoppable killing machine whose indomitable presence in the movie did justice to video gaming's most terrifying villain.
Other massive brutes get a nod in the series. In true Resident Evil style, Dr. Isaacs' experiments in Extinction cause him to turn into a monstrosity clearly based off the Tyrants. The fourth film, Afterlife, introduces the Executioner Majini from Resident Evil 5, who shows up again for some double trouble in Resident Evil: Retribution.
The smaller enemies don't get forgotten along the way, either. As Resident Evil 4 and 5 introduced the Las Plagas virus and the Majini, respectively, Anderson found a way to work them into the movies as a nod to the video game fans. The Majini creatures, with their creepy, flower-tentacle mouths, began to show up as advanced-stage mutated zombies. The finale of Retribution even worked in the flying Kipepeo monsters, who showed up again in the first few minutes of The Final Chapter.
The Las Plagas parasite, which is responsible for the Majini and Kipepeo in the games, does get a name drop at the end of Retribution, though we don't learn much about it except that it turns Rain into a badass (and leads to her fourth death in the series — an impressive amount even for the likes of Michelle Rodriguez). There's also a little preview of Resident Evil 7 included in The Final Chapter, as Alice is stalked by what is unmistakably a reference to the new Molded creatures introduced in Capcom's latest game.
All The Characters You Love And Love To Hate
While the first movie introduced its own original cast of characters, the Resident Evil series has since happily thrown more familiar faces into the fray, from the games' well-established heroes to the minor characters.
Perhaps the best thing about the major character appearances in the series is how devoted the cast and crew are to making them look as accurate to the source material as possible. Costumes for characters like Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong and Albert Wesker were so on point that they looked like they'd walked straight out of the games. Sienna Guillory, the actress who played Jill Valentine, even studied the animations and movements of the character from Resident Evil 3 to bring an eerily accurate physical performance to the films.
Almost every character (aside from Sheva Alomar and Rebecca Chambers, sadly) who starred in a game appeared in some capacity in the films. The antagonists didn't get left out, either. The choice to introduce Wesker as a villain, complete with his Matrix-style fashion sense and wonderfully campy demeanor, gave the series a T-virus-esque injection of freshness and fun. And his fight with Chris and Claire in Afterlife isn't just a high point for the film series. It's almost a shot-for-shot homage to Wesker's high point in the games.
It's not the only time the films reference an awesome fight scene. Ada and Alice's brief scuffle in Retribution mirrors the fight between Leon and Ada in Resident Evil 4, while in The Final Chapter we get a great tribute to the knife fight between Leon and Krauser from Resident Evil 4 — although, this time it's between Alice and Dr. Isaacs and takes place on a moving tank.
Of Course, It's The Little Things That Matter
While there's a ton of major references to the games in terms of characters and monsters, there are a lot of wonderful and subtle Easter Eggs and nods to the games. The name of Alice's traitorous boyfriend Spencer refers to the name of the mansion in the first Resident Evil game. The chopper that flies Carlos in Apocalypse is given the same designation as the chopper from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the inspiration for Apocalypse's plot.
One of my favorite references in all the movies shows up in Resident Evil: Afterlife. The film's release coincided with the more action-focused turn the games had taken with Resident Evil 4 and 5. One particularly striking change to the series was the weapons system. Enemies now dropped piles of treasure upon death, allowing players to collect money, which could be spent at certain points to upgrade and purchase equipment.
Afterlife performs a hilarious little nod to this bizarrely gamey addition to the series by having Alice load her shotguns with coins, which explode in dramatic, bloody clouds out of the enemies she hits, clattering to the ground dramatically like something out of Scott Pilgrim. It's a wonderfully subtle Easter Egg that adds a "realistic" reason for enemies popping into piles of treasure when they die, emblematic of the joyful, no-holds-barred attitude that has made the films such a success.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter releases on Blu-ray on May 16. You can find out more on Evil Comes Home!
[Main image credit: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter — Screen Gems]